Cataracts are one of the leading causes of vision loss in people over 45. A condition that commonly develops as the eye ages, by the time we reach 80, more than half of us will have developed a cataract.
A cataract is a clouding of the lens in your eye which is normally transparent. The lens, located inside the eye, behind the iris and the pupil, focuses light onto the retina at the back of your eye, where it is converted to nerve signals that are passed to the brain, allowing you to see. When your lens becomes cloudy, the images projected onto your retina become blurry and unfocused and therefore the signal to the brain is also unclear. You can compare this to looking through a dirty or cloudy window. If the window is not clear, you can’t see well.
Usually cataracts develop slowly over time so your vision gradually worsens. While the majority of cataracts are a result of the aging process, there are also congenital cataracts that are present at birth, secondary cataracts that result from eye surgery or diseases such as glaucoma or diabetes and traumatic cataracts that result at any age from an injury to the eye.
While you may be able to live with mild or moderate cataracts, severe cataracts are treated with surgery. The procedure involves removing the clouded lens and replacing it with an intraocular lens (IOL) implant. Cataract surgery is a common procedure that has a very high success rate of restoring vision to patients. Modern cataract surgery is frequently done as an outpatient procedure. Patients will have greatly improved vision the next day, and will continue to improve over the next few weeks. Surgery is often done in one eye first, and surgery on the second eye, if needed, may be done 2 weeks later.
Learn more about the specifics of Cataracts on the links below:
Signs & Symptoms of Cataracts Understand the warning signs and symptoms of cataracts to prevent them from affecting your daily life.
Risk Factors of Cataracts Learn more about the risk factors associated with cataracts and what measures you can take to prevent or delay them.
Treatment for Cataracts and Cataract Surgery Treatment options for living with cataracts. Learn more about cataract surgery and how to know if it is right for you.
Intraocular Lenses (IOLs) If you are getting cataract surgery, there are a variety of IOLs to choose from including presbyopia-correcting IOLs, which can also correct for near vision loss associated with aging.
Preventing Cataracts Additional information including lifestyle factors that could impact cataracts.
Signs & Symptoms
The lens of the eye works much like a camera lens, it’s vital that it remain clear and healthy for clear vision. Learn the signs and symptoms that indicate cataracts.
Causes of Cataracts
Learn more about the factors that may cause cataracts.
Cataract Surgery & Treatment
Prescriptions, lens treatments and surgery are all options you can explore.
Common Questions about Presbyopia-correcting IOLs
If you need cataract surgery, you may have the option of getting new presbyopia-correcting IOLs that potentially can restore a full range of vision without eyeglasses.
More About Cataracts
Additional information including lifestyle factors that could impact cataracts.
Diabetes and Eyesight
Diabetes is a disease that affects the way we process food for energy and growth. With all forms of diabetes—type 1, type 2 and gestational diabetes—the body has trouble converting sugar in the blood into energy, resulting in a host of potential health problems.
Diabetes increases the likelihood that common diabetes-related vision problems or diseases might occur:
Diabetics are prone to developing cataracts (a clouding of the eye’s lens) at an earlier age.
People with diabetes are almost 50% more likely to develop glaucoma, an eye disorder that damages the optic nerve often marked by an increase of internal eye pressure.
Macular edema (and macular degeneration) are more common in diabetics due to malfunctioning blood vessels in the middle region of the retina responsible for central, sharp vision.
Most notably, diabetes can result in diabetic retinopathy; an eye disease that affects the blood vessels in the all-important retina. Nearly 45 percent of Americans diagnosed with diabetes have some stage of diabetic retinopathy.
That’s why there’s no separating diabetes and vision. If you have diabetes, then you should understand vision problems that increase in likelihood as a result of the disease.
Over 21 million people in the United States have diabetes, with an estimated additional 6 million people unaware they have a form of the disease. What’s more, an estimated 54 million Americans ages 40 to 74 have prediabetes, a condition that puts them at risk for developing type 2 diabetes. According to a recent American Optometric Association survey, diabetes is the leading cause of new cases of blindness among adults ages 20 to 74.
Overview of Diabetic Retinopathy
Since the retina is the light-sensitive region of the back of the eye responsible for processing visual images, diabetic retinopathy can affect your vision in mild, moderate or even severe ways.
Signs and Symptoms of Diabetic Retinopathy
If you have diabetes, you probably know that your body can’t use or store sugar properly. When your blood sugar gets too high, it can damage the blood vessels in your eyes. This damage may lead to diabetic retinopathy. In fact, the longer someone has diabetes, the more likely they are to have retinopathy (damage to the retina) from the disease.
Causes of Diabetic Retinopathy
Changes in blood-sugar levels increase your risk of diabetic retinopathy, as does long-term diabetes.
Treatment for Diabetic Retinopathy
According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, 95% of those with diabetic retinopathy can avoid substantial vision loss if they are treated in time.